Aerodigestive Clinic

A Collaborative Approach to Caring for Children with Breathing and Swallowing Problems

The Pediatric Aerodigestive Clinic at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital brings together experts in multiple pediatric specialties to care for children with chronic and complex airway, breathing and swallowing conditions.

Our multidisciplinary program allows many different specialists to participate in diagnosing aerodigestive disorders and developing individualized treatment plans for each child. This comprehensive approach is important because conditions affecting the aerodigestive system – which includes the upper airways, lungs, esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first section of the small intestine) – are often interrelated.

Multidisciplinary Team

Experts from many specialty areas come together to coordinate care for children at this one-stop clinic. Our aerodigestive team includes pediatric specialists in:

  • Gastroenterology/nutrition
  • Otolaryngology (ENT)
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Pulmonology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

We also offer access to experts in:

  • Anesthesiology/sedation
  • Cardiology
  • Child life
  • Critical care
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Sleep medicine

What to Expect

During a typical visit, the child and his or her family are seen by GI, pulmonology, ENT, surgery, speech and occupational therapy specialists in succession, streamlining the visit process and enhancing communication between the team members. The team then meets to discuss the patient and develop an individualized care plan, which they share with the family the same day. If the child needs additional tests, procedures or surgery, the clinic’s patient navigator will make the necessary arrangements and coordinate all the care for them. This team approach leads to a better experience for young patients and their families and more prompt care.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

If a child who comes to the Aerodigestive Clinic needs further evaluation, they may undergo a triple endoscopy test that is scheduled on a separate day. This minimally invasive test, under anesthesia, allows ENT, pulmonology and GI specialists to look at the child’s respiratory and upper digestive systems, during the same procedure. This means the child will only have to undergo anesthesia once, instead of multiple times. The clinic’s navigator also has the ability to add on any other additional testing at the same time as the triple endoscopy, if needed. The specialists will be able to update the family in real time as the procedure is being conducted.

The child usually can go home the same day as the test, though an overnight stay may be recommended in some cases. The family will then come back to the clinic at a later day to discuss the results and potential treatment options.


The Pediatric Aerodigestive Clinic is located on the main campus of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center/UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. The clinic is in the Bryan Center, on the 6th floor of Rainbow.

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